The Federal Government Digital Strategy describes specific projects with concrete, measurable goals to advance digitalisation in Germany. It includes binding to‑do lists that the Federal Government is imposing on itself in all policy areas, divided into three fields of action: “Connected and digitally sovereign society”, “Innovative economy, work, science and research” and “Learning, digital government”. Every Federal Ministry has contributed at least one lighthouse project to the strategy.
Federal Foreign Office lighthouse project on digital and secure confidential communication
Alongside active digital foreign policy as a core element of the strategy, the Federal Foreign Office was able to contribute a lighthouse project with the platform that was developed under its leadership as a highly secure digital data exchange system for classified interministerial communication (R‑VSK). R-VSK helps to make bureaucratic procedures more efficient. In the future, the platform will also be used to exchange information with international organisations (I‑VSK) and companies with stringent data protection requirements (F‑VSK). The Federal Foreign Office hopes that this platform will help bring about a new standard within NATO.
Another key project overseen by the Federal Foreign Office is the Data Embassy. To ensure that it can remain functional even in a crisis, the Federal Government plans to set up a Data Embassy outside Germany, protected by a treaty under international law.
In addition, the Digital Strategy announces that the platform PLAIN, created by the Federal Foreign Office to securely process and analyse large quantities of data, will be available to the entire federal administration by 2025. The Consular Services Portal is also part of the strategy. The aim is for skilled workers from abroad to be able to apply for visas online by 2025.
Digital Strategy and National Security Strategy go together
Other aspects of the Digital Strategy include interministerial efforts to enhance the National Cyber Response Centre, which is also to be enshrined in law – representing a new political and strategic alignment that is crucially important in these times. Dr Sven Stephen Egyedy, Director for Digitalisation and Digital and Data Policy at the Federal Foreign Office (CDO), comments:
Digitalisation is a key area for our security, not least in order to anticipate international threats coming from the digital sphere and develop paths of action at an early stage. One part of this is security in the process of digitalisation, but targeted digitalisation in the security sector can itself increase our security. This is what makes it important to approach and implement the Digital Strategy and the National Security Strategy together.
The Federal Foreign Office engaged in a modern, participative process to develop a strategy for digitalisation by 2027, which was presented at the end of 2021, making the FFO a trailblazer among the Federal Ministries. This strategy defines 17 strategic goals that will guide planning and action over the coming years until 2027, clustered under the headings “Data and knowledge”, “Staff”, “Processes and organisation” and “Tools and infrastructure”.